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Here’s part two of the need-to-know detail on the key legislative developments to watch out for in 2023:

New and enhanced redundancy protections

Currently you’re required to offer a vacant, suitable alternative role (where one exists) to an ‘at risk’ employee on maternity leave in priority to anyone else.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill intends to extend the protection from the point you’re made aware of their pregnancy and up to six months after they return from maternity leave (where an employee has taken 52 weeks’ maternity leave). Similar rights will also apply to parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

‘Fire and rehire’ Statutory Code of Practice

If you’re looking to make changes to employment contracts and an employee refuses those changes, one approach you can take is to terminate their employment and rehire them on the new terms (provided you follow a fair process).

The government have confirmed they’ll be publishing a new Statutory Code of Practice to provide practical steps for you to follow to ensure you engage in meaningful consultation when changing terms and conditions. The Code will not introduce an outright ban on the practice of ‘fire and rehire’, but is expected to mean:

  • Tribunals will need to take into account whether you have followed the Code and you should be ready to evidence you have done so; and

  • Tribunals may apply a 25% uplift in compensation if you unreasonably fail to comply with the Code.

Next steps

The government are yet to provide timescales for the introduction of this legislation, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more. In part three next week we’ll cover a new British data protection framework and the potential impact of the Brexit Freedoms Bill.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how these proposed changes might affect your business.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (19 January 2023), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

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